Content moderation challenges arise from the vast volume of online content and diverse user beliefs. Current moderation uses automated tools and human moderators, but both have flaws. Evelyn Douek suggests a “systems thinking” approach, focusing on systemic solutions rather than individual errors. As India drafts the Digital India Act, a shift towards addressing systemic issues in content moderation is essential.
In the early internet era, websites were liable for third-party content, leading to legal challenges. US Section 230 was introduced, protecting online platforms from being treated as publishers for user-generated content. However, in Gonzales vs. Google, YouTube’s recommendation algorithms are under scrutiny, potentially redefining Section 230’s protections. The decision could reshape online content moderation globally.
The draft amendments to the Information Technology Rules, 2021, will require intermediaries to align community standards with Indian law and create a Grievance Appellate Committee for “problematic content.” Critics view this as a tool of government censorship, while others see a need for balance between government control and private enterprise.
Any attempt to change the beliefs of vaccine skeptics using facts is bound to fail. Thanks to the backfire effect they will take the facts presented to them and bend them to fit with their beliefs rather than allow new facts to convince them that their beliefs were wrong.
The Intermediary Guidelines 2021 just make things more confused. It will cover social media intermediaries on the basis of registered users and not active users which can be a big deal for many companies that have a relatively small active Indian user base. It will apply to services that provide messaging as just an ancillary service - and most digital platforms do that. Voluntary verification is also a strange requirement since it doesn’t ensure traceability because its not mandatory. Anyone who fails to comply even with the most minor requirements of the regulations will lose their intermediary liability protections.